Putting new buttons on toolbars in MS Office (before the 2007 version)

A while ago I published an article that suggested that rather than printing directly from web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, it is better to copy the information that you want into a word processor and print it from there. In that article I mentioned the use of the 'Paste Special' in Word, which enables you to remove formatting from the information that you paste. In this article I will explain how to put a button for 'Paste Special' onto the toolbar in Microsoft Word 2003 and other earlier versions. This technique can also be used to add any of the other available buttons onto any toolbar.

Open up Word and right-click on one of the toolbars, which are at the top of the screen below the menu and look something like this:

From the menu, select 'Customize...', which will open a dialog box. Click on the 'Commands' tab.

Select 'Edit' from the left-hand menu, because the 'Paste Special' tool is listed in the 'Edit' menu. Scroll down through the list on the right-hand until you see 'Paste Special' then left-click on it and hold the mouse button down. The mouse pointer should change to an arrow pointing at a rectangle with a square to the bottom right, which will have an X in it initially.

Move the pointer up to the toolbars and release the mouse button when it is in a suitable position: next to the normal paste button for example. You will notice that the mouse pointer changed appearance again when you hovered over the toolbar, with the X being replaced with a + to let you know that the new button can be placed there.

Your toolbar should now look something like this:

If you wish to remove a button from the toolbar, follow the instructions above for opening the 'Customize' dialog, but rather than drag from the dialog box to the toolbar, click on the button you wish to remove from the toolbar and drag it into the dialog box.

This process also works in the other Microsoft Office applications such as Excel and PowerPoint. With Office 2007, Microsoft have replaced the old tried-and-tested menu and toolbar arrangement with something called 'ribbons' (as pictured below) and there is no way to customise these in the same way as detailed above.

This is an edited version of a post that first appeared on Bloody Computer! on 19th November 2007.